Utah opens season with 75-61 win over Maine

Utah opens season with 75-61 win over Maine

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Sedrick Barefield scored 18 points and Donnie Tillman added 15 to lead Utah to a 75-61 win over Maine on Thursday night in the Utes’ season opener.

The Utes prevailed after shooting 49 percent from the field and finishing with a 42-26 advantage on the glass.

Isaiah White scored 24 points and Terion Moss added 13 to lead the Black Bears (0-2). Maine trailed wire-to-wire after shooting just 40 percent.

Utah sizzled from the perimeter early in the first half and it led to a quick double-digit lead. The Utes connected on their first seven field-goal attempts and started 9 of 10 from the field. That run of baskets included six 3-pointers.

After White turned a steal into a fastbreak dunk to cut Utah’s lead to 14-8, Barefield responded with back-to-back 3-pointers to push the advantage back to double digits. Vante Hendrix followed with two more baskets on consecutive possessions a minute later. Hendrix’s second basket — a 3-pointer he set up with a steal — put Utah up 25-10 with 12:16 left in the first half.

Maine cut the deficit to 10 twice before halftime. Timmy Allen made a layup and fed Riley Batten to set up another to give Utah a 45-28 halftime lead.

A lengthy cold spell for Utah’s offense prevented the Utes from building on the lead after halftime. Utah went more than nine minutes without a field goal and allowed Maine to cut the deficit to 60-51 on a 3-pointer from Moss with 6:09 left.

Barefield finally ended the drought for the Utes with a jumper. Utah then ran off four straight baskets, culminating in a Parker Van Dyke 3-pointer to take a 71-57 lead with 2:44 remaining.

BIG PICTURE

Maine: The Black Bears should get a boost of confidence from hanging around with Utah in the second half. Their shooting was a bit too erratic in the first half to truly give them an upset chance, but they could put a scare into other opponents during their six-game road trip with improvement.

Utah: Inconsistency gripped a Utah team filled with newcomers. The Utes were solid on defense as usual, but endured long cold spells on offense. There could be some growing pains for Utah as the schedule gets tougher, but the Utes do have enough length, speed, and athleticism to be a dangerous team once they have enough experience.

UP NEXT

Maine: The Black Bears continue a season-opening six game road trip at San Francisco on Saturday.

Utah: The Utes will hit the road for the first time when they play at Minnesota on Monday.